Biodiversity & Conservation

Parasitic anemone - Calliactis parasitica

Calliactis parasitica

Image Keith Hiscock - Two anemones on Buccinum shell. Aquarium photograph. Image width ca 10 cm.
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Distribution map

Calliactis parasitica recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

Why do the maps differ?

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Calliactis parasitica is not listed under any importance categories.

Taxonomy icon Taxonomy Taxon English term
Phylum Cnidaria Sea anemones, corals, sea firs & jellyfish
Class Hexacorallia
Authority Couch, 1842
Recent synonyms Cribrina rondeletti
Map icon Recorded Distribution in Britain and Ireland Found from the southwest coast of England, east to the Bill of Portland. It has also been recorded from Tralee Bay on the east coast of Ireland.
Habitat information icon Habitat information Typically found in association with a hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardus. It occasionally lives alone attached to rock or empty shells. It is rarely intertidal but locally common offshore to depths of about 60 m.
Text page icon Description Column taller than wide, may be up to 8 cm high by 5 cm wide, firm and stiff. Numerous slender tentacles, up to 700, of moderate length present. Small blister-like pores (cinclides) present at the base of the animal, through which long thread-like acontia can be expelled. Base colour cream or buff, blotched and streaked with reddish or greyish brown, tending to form vertical stripes.
Identifying features
  • Up to 8 cm high and 5 cm wide.
  • Column blotched and streaked red or grey brown in colouration.
  • Up to 700 slender tentacles.
  • Firm, stiff column.
  • Blister-like pores at base of column.
  • Usually found in association with the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus.
Additional information icon Additional information No text entered

This review can be cited as follows:

John Bleach 2007. Calliactis parasitica. Parasitic anemone. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>